Top Issues for Skilled Nursing Facilities
The skilled nursing industry recently indicated that staffing again remains a top challenge heading into 2021 according to the 2021 Skilled Nursing Outlook Report. The year’s top COVID-related issues focused on occupancy as well as staffing.
The staffing situation also means that many nursing facilities do not have enough providers or specialists onsite and/or on call after hours. In these situations, any resident needing higher-level care (outside the scope of an aide or nurse) may be transported to a hospital. The transfer – and the delay in a resident receiving the care needed – can often negatively impact the resident’s health and result in unnecessary costs and penalties to facilities, hospitals, and health plans.
Using Virtual Care to Address Staffing and Occupancy Challenges
Virtual care technology can improve workflow efficiencies while reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and excess costs. Residents can remain comfortably in their nursing facility while receiving timely care on demand. Staff can quickly coordinate a virtual consult with an offsite provider who can assess the situation and provide medical advice via HIPAA-compliant video and/or secure messaging.
- A specialist can also be integrated into the call and messaging for better care collaboration. Staff can efficiently coordinate immediate care or elevated care, depending on the patient’s evolving medical condition and the care team’s recommendation.
- Patients’ in-town and out-of-town family members can also be included in the virtual visits. These virtual visits allow family to become more involved in their loved ones’ care especially if the nursing facility has visitor restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
Remote patient monitoring also enables a nursing facility to better monitor and manage patients. By sharing patient data with the patient’s referral partner, the broader care team remains informed about any changes in a patient’s vital signs and can quickly determine if the plan of care needs to be changed. Better management and engagement of patients at-risk for rehospitalizations helps SNFs minimize transfers as well as the number and length of hospital stays, leading to improvements in quality of life and cost of care.
SNFs are already competing against each other in their efforts to combat the downturn in occupancy. To make sure that facilities are protecting and growing their referral/revenue stream from hospitals, SNF administrators are turning to Synzi to help manage their readmissions exposure while also protecting their revenue/referral stream from hospitals. By implementing a virtual care platform, SNFs are optimizing staff productivity while building their census by keeping beds filled and providing higher quality and better timing of care.